Black & Abroad, a multi-platform travel and lifestyle company dedicated to redefining world experiences for the modern Black traveler, is finding new meaning this week with their latest campaign “Go Back to Africa” (#GoBackToAfrica) in the midst of controversy over hate-fueled political speech in the U.S.
The phrase “Go back to Africa” has a long, complicated history, and unfortunately, we’ve seen this week how rhetoric is still being used to incite negative and harmful views of a certain group of people.
The goal of the “Go Back to Africa” campaign is to put a positive spin on an often negative and derogatory phrase, and strip the perceived power away from those who use the phrase to promote fear. Black & Abroad wants to encourage people to turn away from negative stereotypes by transforming them with positive imagery aimed to change the meaning into something beautiful.
The campaign highlights the diversity and magnificence of Africa’s 54 countries by bringing photos posted by African-American travelers on social media to life, using a powerful AI platform designed as a counterpoint to the travel industry’s bias toward Caucasian travelers.
“We’re proud to be changing the conversation during a time of global unrest by showing more diverse pictures of this rich continent and debunking negative myths and stereotypes,” says Eric Martin, co-founder of Black & Abroad. “We encourage others to get involved and rethink how they’re influencing or reinforcing negative stereotypes instead of positive actions.”
At the heart of the project is an innovative digital platform designed to locate, quality control and gain permissions to use aspirational images of African-Americans traveling in Africa. The platform, fuelled by Google Vision and crafted by FCB/SIX, is an AI-powered content marketing engine purpose-built for the travel and tourism industry. This campaign was so well-regarded that it recently took home a Cannes Lion Grand Prix.
“This campaign demonstrates that by being creative, we have the ability to effect change and turn something that’s often negative into something that’s beautiful and positive,” says Ian Mackenzie, Chief Creative Officer of FCB/SIX. “We hope the rest of the world will join us in recognizing that language is powerful, and we all have the ability to effect positive change.”